By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin Enoch McKeague intercepts a pass in the Saints' 28-20 victory over Kahuku in the Prep Bowl last night.

St. Louis holds off Kahuku to capture its 13th consecutive Prep Bowl championship

St. Louis School's Prep Bowl streak has reached 13, a number the superstitious dread.

But after a season which saw the football program scandalized by the now notorious Las Vegas hotel incident of Sept. 6, the Crusaders weren't thinking about a number last night in Prep Bowl XXVI at Aloha Stadium.

They were just thinking about proving themselves in the state's first battle of nationally ranked local teams before 20,959 fans.

They did, thanks to a pair of juniors, quarterback Timmy Chang and all-state slotback Gerald Welch. But this one didn't come easy.

Chang completed 15 of 27 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and St. Louis (13-1) held off a furious late rally to hand Kahuku (12-1) its first defeat of the year, 28-20.

It was St. Louis's 14th bowl win in 15 years and head coach Cal Lee's 202nd personal coaching victory.

A man identifying himself as "Herbert" acted as spokesman for Lee and refused to let the Star-Bulletin interview him.

"He's happy tonight and we don't want you to spoil it for him," said the spokesman.

Lee accommodated other media who wanted to speak with him.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin Kahuku quarterback Wayne Fonoimoana was the key to the Red Raiders' option last night. Above, he pitches the ball to Kaipo Faitoa. Below, he stumbles as he avoids a St. Louis tackler.

The bowl win will probably earn St. Louis, currently ranked No. 15 in the National Prep Football Poll, a season-ending spot in the USA Today "Super 25" rankings. The Crusaders fell out of the USA Today list two months ago after forfeiting a game to Kamehameha.

Kahuku, which has been ranked No. 18 in the "Super 25," will probably fall out of the list.

"There were a lot of people doubting us this year, and this had to be our toughest game," said Welch, who had 121 yards in total offense, including a 62-yard touchdown reception.

Welch managed to get open whenever Chang needed him. He had six catches for 107 yards.

"We watched videos on their coverage, and we knew what they were going to give us," said Welch.

"We thought they were going to zone us but they started out with a man-to-man, so we just adjusted."

Kahuku failed to mount an effective rush on Chang who often had more than enough time to find his receivers.

Oahu Prep Bowl facts

-St. Louis has won 14 of the last 15 Prep Bowls. -Kahuku is the only opponent to score 20 or more points in the Prep Bowl during St. Louis' 13-year streak -It was the second start and second victory in the Prep Bowl for St. Louis junior quarterback Timmy Chang. -The game drew 20,959 fans, the seventh lowest attendance in the event's history.

All-state linebacker Joe Siofele, who had five tackles for losses, including two sacks on Kahuku quarterback Wayne Fonoimoana, said Kahuku's offensive line, which averaged 288 pounds, presented a major challenge.

"That's the biggest offensive line we faced all year," said Siofele. "I give credit to them for coming out hard."

Injuries marred the game for Kahuku.

The Raiders' premier rusher, Talamoni Talamoni, suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter. Left guard Toniu Fonoti, a 6-4, 300-pounder, went out with a shoulder injury in the third quarter. St. Louis's 6-3, 280-pound defensive lineman Tamotu Tagoa'i went out with an apparent knee sprain.

St. Louis got the game's first two touchdowns on Chang's 34-yard pass to Issac Rodrigues in the first quarter and all-state running back Noah Campbell's four-yard run in the second quarter.

Kahuku got one back on a six-yard touchdown pass to Allen Foster with 20 seconds left in the half to make it 14-6.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin Gerald Welch of St. Louis can't quite get a grasp on this pass from quarterback Timmy Chang in last night's Prep Bowl, won by the Crusaders, 28-20, at Aloha Stadium.

St. Louis's most critical momentum-seizing touchdown was born of opportunism.

After Kahuku stalled at its own 24 late in the third quarter, Leslie Wong blocked an Orlando Wong punt that wobbled into the endzone. Junior linebacker Jovaustin Murray-Thornton pounced on the ball for the touchdown that made it 20-6.

"I just followed the ball the way and never took my eyes off it," said Thornton-Murray.

"When I got hold of the ball, I held it like I never held anything before."

Fonoimoana opened up his passing game in the waning minutes, completing eight passes in a 65-yard scoring drive that culminated in a nine-yard pass to T.C. Thompson with 4:04 left (28-12). A little more than a minute later, Leonard Peters recovered Campbell's fumble at the St. Louis 12. That led to Kaipo Fiatoa's six-yard burst into the end zone with 2:42 left. Fiatoa followed with a 2-point rush conversion to make it 28-20.

But time ran out on the Red Raiders.

"We leave everything here on the field, and there are no regrets, no pointing fingers at anybody, no complaining, no sadness," Ka-huku head coach Siuaki Livai said.

St. Louis 7 7 7 7--28

Kahuku 0 6 0 14--20

St.Louis: Issac rodrigues 34 pass from Timmy Chang (Mark Lau kick)

St. Louis: Noah Campbell 4 run (Lau kick)

Kahuku: Allen Foster 6 pass from Wayne Fonoimoana (kick failed)

St.Louis: Jovaustin Murray-Thornton blocked punt recovery in end zone (Lau kick)

St.Louis: Gerald Welch 68 pass from Chang (Lau kick)

Kahuku: Thomas Thompson 9 pass from Fonoimoana (pass failed)

Kahuku: Kaipo Fiatoa 6 run (Fiatoa run)

Rushing--St.Louis: Chang 5-8, Campbell 13-38, Damien Cole 8-16, Welch 2-14, Pesefea Fiaseu 1-3. Kahuku: Talamoni Talamoni 2-2, Andreas Manumaleuna 14-38, Fonoimoana 13-49, Fiatoa 8-33, Kala Latuselu 4-7.

Passing--St.Louis: Chang 15-27-0 for 253 yards. Kahuku: Fonoimoana 17-33-1 for 186 yards.

Receiving--St. Louis: Layton Alivado 2-13, Welch 5-107, Kaui Ho 2-(-4), Kanale George 2-50, Issac Rodrigues 3-74, Cole 1-13. Kahuku: Allen Foster 5-45, Thompson 3-29, William 3-42, Orlando Wong 3-57, Manu 1-(-3), Fiatoa 1-9.